With the New Jersey Devils in Los Angeles tonight to take on the Kings, beat writer Tom Gulitti caught up with former Devils star Scott Niedermayer, who was at the Staples Center filming a piece for his jersey retirement ceremony. On Dec. 16, the Devils will raise Niedermayer’s No. 27 to the rafters, the third number ever retired by the club (the others are Scott Stevens’ No. 4 and Ken Danekyo’s No. 3.)
On the topic of post-retirement honors, Niedermayer made one thing clear. If — okay, when — he goes to the Hockey Hall of Fame, he wants to do it as a New Jersey Devil.
“That’s where I played the bulk of my career,” Niedermayer told the Fire & Ice blog. “That’s where I learned a lot and grew as a young professional player and was able to use that later on in my career to maybe have more success. And I guess maybe as time goes by, that (feeling for being a Devil) might become stronger.
“The fact that I played out here (in California) and retire right from the Ducks, that’s sort of your recent memories and that’s sort of where you feel a part of that team. But, as time passes and you look back and the length of time that I was in New Jersey compared to the length of time I was out here, I’m comfortable saying that (he’s a Devil).”
Niedermayer played for New Jersey from 1992-2004 — winning three Stanley Cups and his lone Norris trophy — so being enshrined as a Devil is almost an afterthought. But considering the profound effect he had on the Anaheim organization upon signing there in 2005, going in as a Duck is somewhat viable. Niedermayer won a Cup and a Conn Smythe trophy with the Ducks and recorded his highest ever single-season point total (69). He also won the Cup in Anaheim with his brother, Rob, and still works as a consultant for the club.
All that said, Niedermayer will go to the HHOF as a Devil. He’s up for eligibility in 2012 in what promises to be an outstanding field — first-time eligible players include Joe Sakic, Jeremy Roenick, Mats Sundin and Brendan Shanahan.
Dubinsky won’t change, and he won’t go easy on Crosby
“Nope,” Dubinsky said. “You know, I’ve played the same way my whole career and I’m not going to change. The next time I have an opportunity to play (Crosby), I’m going to play him hard.”
In case you’re wondering, that next opportunity comes on Dec. 21 in Pittsburgh, assuming that both players are healthy and not suspended.
One can understand Dubinsky’s perspective, although such honesty would be that much more interesting if there’s another incident with Crosby. His initial reaction to the hit was interestingly candid, admitting that his “stick rode up” on his adversary.
Would that stance – which, from a harsher view, might seem flippant to Dubinsky’s critics – open the door for a bigger future bit of a discipline?
Maybe, maybe not … but at least his comments aren’t as inflammatory as what John Tortorella said (at least on the record).
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